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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 48
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,919

Journal Archives

Rupert Murdoch Reportedly Made the Call to Bury Trump's Election Night Dreams in a Shallow Grave

Both Kushner and Trump are said to have personally pleaded with the Fox News owner to retract the call.

In the early-morning hours of November 4, the day after the 2020 election, Donald Trump held a news conference in the East Room of the White House in which he falsely claimed that the fact that he had been ahead in the early tallying of votes, and then later behind, meant that the election had been stolen from him. “This is a fraud on the American public,” he declared. “This is an embarrassment to this country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.” Obviously that wasn’t true at all—Trump hadn’t won anything because not all of the votes had been counted yet. Still, in some states it had become clear that he was very likely going to lose, hence Fox News’s decision to declare Arizona for Joe Biden. At the time the call from the right-wing outlet, made before any other major network, shocked the country—and according to a new book, it was Rupert Murdoch who gave it the greenlight, with some less-than-charitable things to say about Trump!

Insider reports that Michael Wolff’s forthcoming book, Landslide, includes a scene in which Lachlan Murdoch, the nonagenarian billionaire’s son, got a call from Fox’s election desk saying it was ready to announce Biden had won Arizona, which he then took to the top:

The book [notes] that the Murdochs—who spearhead a vast right-wing media empire—had “every reason” to delay calling Arizona at the time, given Fox’s steadfast allegiance to Trump and the fact that no other network had made the call yet. “Lachlan got his father on the phone to ask if he wanted to make the early call. His father, with signature grunt, assented, adding, ‘F--- him,’” Wolff wrote. The book [says] that Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer then called Trump’s lead social media strategist, Jason Miller, to let him know the network was going to call Arizona for Biden. “Miller involuntarily rose from his seat. ‘What the f---?’ he said out loud, looking around and seeing the still-merry and untroubled faces in the Map Room”...Wolff wrote. Hemmer reportedly replied: “That’s what they’re doing. That’s what they’re going with.”
“Who?” Miller asked.
“The election desk,” Hemmer said, adding that the network’s decision was going to be aired imminently. The decision to call Arizona for Biden was a pivotal moment on election night, indicating the Democrat was poised to win the traditionally Republican-leaning state and complicating Trump’s ability to declare an early victory in the overall race.

In a statement, a Fox News Media spokesperson told the Hive: "This account is completely false. Arnon Mishkin who leads the FOX News Decision Desk made the Arizona call on election night and FOX News Media President Jay Wallace was then called in the control room. Any other version of the story is wildly inaccurate.” Regarding Bill Hemmer’s call to Miller, a Fox News spokesperson insisted “This never happened and is completely untrue.”


The Trumpian Roots of the Chip Crisis

What’s the current state of the U.S. economy? A quick summary might be “booming with bottlenecks.”

And some of those bottlenecks reflect the mess created by Donald Trump’s trade policy.

Where we are now: Employment is growing at a rate we haven’t seen since 1984. So, probably, is gross domestic product, although we don’t yet have an official estimate for the second quarter. We are, however, suffering from shortages of many items, which are crimping production in some areas and leading to sharp price increases in others.

Some of these shortages are getting resolved. For example, two months ago, lumber cost almost four times as much as it did before the Covid-19 pandemic; since then, its price has fallen more than 50 percent. Other bottlenecks, however, seem more persistent. World trade is being held back by an inadequate supply of standard-size shipping containers — the ubiquitous boxes that carry almost everything, because they can be lifted directly from the decks of ships onto railroad cars and truck beds — and experts expect the shortage to last at least until late this year.


Trump's still waging a war on truth -- and it's still bad for democracy

WASHINGTON — Last month, as thousands of former President Trump’s loyal supporters waited for him at a rally in Ohio, a chant rose from the crowd.

“Trump won!” they roared. “Trump won!”

The former president agreed. “We won the election twice,” he said, “and it’s possible we’ll have to win it a third time.”

Eight months after he lost convincingly to President Biden, Trump and his followers are studiously maintaining an alternative reality — and having remarkable success keeping the fiction alive.


He walked Clearwater Beach with an AR-15. Is he a menace or a martyr?

The tactics used by Michael Taylor, a gun-rights “auditor” with a YouTube following, are legal. Whether they’re in good taste depends on who you ask.

Michael Taylor, also known as the “The Armed Fisherman," strapped with his assault rifle and hand gun, baits his fishing line while at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach on July 2, 2021. Taylor travels around Florida, "auditing" authorities' knowledge of a law that allows people to openly carry firearms if they're hunting, fishing or camping or on their way to or from one of those activities. He records his confrontations with law enforcement officers, including those in Clearwater, and posts the results online. [ Octavio Jones ]

CLEARWATER BEACH — Michael Taylor trudged over the crowded sugar sand, between sunbathers on beach towels and water-winged kids digging with plastic shovels. A few people peered at him from behind sunglasses. What was he doing?

“Livin’ that dream,” he told anyone who engaged with him on a recent Monday. “Livin’ that Florida dream.”

In his left hand, he carried a fishing rod and a pole flying a “Don’t tread on me” flag. They bobbed in front of the GoPro camera strapped to his chest and shooting video. Something else, dark and dull but obscured, kept intruding on the frame.

He fist-bumped a beachgoer and complimented the man’s tattoo, the symbol of the Three Percenters, an anti-government militia movement. The man asked about the thing slung over Taylor’s shoulder, that shadow on the screen.


Menace? Yes. Asshole? Absolutely. He wants to force everyone around to accept his perverse fetish.

Florida sees 48 percent jump in weekly coronavirus infections as delta variant spreads

Source: Tampa Bay Times

In the past two weeks the number of COVID-19 cases reported has nearly doubled.

The coronavirus is quickly rising again in Florida.

There were 23,697 new COVID-19 infections in Florida over the past seven-day period from July 2 to July 8, according to the weekly report released Friday by the Florida Department of Health. That’s an average of nearly 3,400 cases a day.

It’s also a 48 percent rise in COVID-19 infections — or 7,719 more infections — from the previous seven-day period from June 25 to July 1.

It’s the second consecutive jump in weekly coronavirus cases reported in Florida. In the past two weeks the number of weekly COVID-19 cases have nearly doubled from just under 12,000 cases reported from June 18 to June 24.

Read more: https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2021/07/09/florida-sees-48-percent-jump-in-weekly-coronavirus-infections-as-delta-variant-spreads/

The Christian Right Is in Decline, and It's Taking America With It

The presidency of George W. Bush may have been the high point of the modern Christian right’s influence in America. White evangelicals were the largest religious faction in the country. “They had a president who claimed to be one of their own, he had a testimony, talked in evangelical terms,” said Robert P. Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute and author of the 2016 book “The End of White Christian America.”

Back then, much of the public sided with the religious right on the key culture war issue of gay marriage. “In 2004, if you had said, ‘We’re the majority, we oppose gay rights, we oppose marriage equality, and the majority of Americans is with us,’ that would have been true,” Jones told me. Youthful megachurches were thriving. It was common for conservatives to gloat that they were going to outbreed the left.

Activists imagined a glorious future. “Home-schoolers will be inordinately represented in the highest levels of leadership and power in the next generation,” Ned Ryun, a former Bush speechwriter, said at a 2005 Christian home-schooling convention. Ryun was the director of a group called Generation Joshua, which worked to get home-schooled kids into politics. The name came from the Old Testament. Moses had led the chosen people out of exile, but it was his successor, Joshua, who conquered the Holy Land.

But the evangelicals who thought they were about to take over America were destined for disappointment. On Thursday, P.R.R.I. released startling new polling data showing just how much ground the religious right has lost. P.R.R.I.’s 2020 Census of American Religion, based on a survey of nearly half a million people, shows a precipitous decline in the share of the population identifying as white evangelical, from 23 percent in 2006 to 14.5 percent last year. (As a category, “white evangelicals” isn’t a perfect proxy for the religious right, but the overlap is substantial.) In 2020, as in every year since 2013, the largest religious group in the United States was the religiously unaffiliated.


Fund the (tax) police

Here’s one issue that both the left and right should be able to agree on: Fund the police. Specifically, the tax police.

If you care about “law and order,” if you think unpatriotic hucksters are getting away with scamming Uncle Sam or, heck, if you don’t want your own taxes to increase, you should demand to beef up the Internal Revenue Service.

Yet for some reason the leading lights of the conservative movement are trying to block tax cops from enforcing the law.

While nearly all Americans say that paying taxes is a civic duty, some scofflaws nonetheless shirk. The difference between what Americans legally owe in taxes and what they actually pay is an estimated $554 billion per year. Part of the reason the tax gap is so enormous is that the agency tasked with collecting revenue and detecting cheats has been starved of resources.


The Republican Party embraces, endorses, and encourages tax cheating. There's hardly a more disgusting political position to take.

Academy of the Holy Names is too 'woke,' not Catholic enough, lawsuit says

A family who gifted the Tampa school $1.35 million wants their donation rescinded, tuition returned.

At a fundraising gala in 2017, Anthony and Barbara Scarpo announced they had pledged $1.35 million to “our cherished” Academy of the Holy Names, a Catholic school in Tampa attended by their two daughters.

The couple asked for their donation to be used toward the school’s master plan and for scholarships for disadvantaged students. They were named chairs of the academy’s fundraising campaign and the school renamed its auditorium the “Scarpo Family Theatre.”

Four years later, the family and the school are at odds, with the Scarpos alleging fraud and a lack of fidelity to Catholic teaching. With one daughter graduated and the other transferred to a different high school, the couple last week filed a 13-count, 45-page lawsuit asking that their pledge be rescinded.

The school, they charge, has “lost its way” by distancing itself from mainstream Catholicism and embracing a divisive “woke culture” where priority is given to “gender identity, human sexuality and pregnancy termination among other hot button issues.” The lawsuit makes clear the couple’s displeasure with the way the school has dealt with issues of race, saying students are made to feel guilty for being white and having enough money to attend the academy.


Trump's latest ridiculous lawsuit shows how small he has become

For someone who filed thousands of lawsuits during his career in business, former president Donald Trump has been rather quiet on the legal front since he left office — particularly if you don’t count the criminal charges his business and associates are facing — with only a few minor suits filed here and there.

But that ended on Wednesday. Trump announced that he has filed suit against Facebook, Google, Twitter, and their CEOs, a class action that will at last seek justice for the people those companies have so grievously wronged, starting with Trump himself.

It sounds like something big: a former president, facing off against some of the biggest, most influential and most profitable tech companies in America. But, in fact, it’s puny and pathetic.

Perhaps because of his company’s struggles, Trump is returning to his roots as a small-time grifter, desperate to draw attention to himself and willing to do just about anything to grab a few extra bucks.


The stimulus helped these Trump voters pay rent. But they blame it for a range of economic ills.

WOODSFIELD, Ohio — Dennis Beckett wasn't even sure he wanted to cash his stimulus check, especially after he received a letter from President Biden announcing its arrival. Beckett, a retired pipe fitter, owns 25 firearms and staunchly opposes the president's call for restrictions on high-capacity magazines.

After thinking about it for a few days, Beckett finally decided to use the money to fix up his century-old home, recently purchased for $30,000.

But even as the stimulus makes his renovation possible, Beckett also blames it for the rising cost of the construction materials he needs. “Ever since January 20th, everything has shot up,” Beckett said, referring to the day Biden was inaugurated. “Just look at gas — it’s $3 a gallon, when it had been $1.79.”

Beckett’s ambivalence is echoed across Monroe County, made up of small towns and family farms tucked in the Appalachian region of southeastern Ohio.


Can't fix stupid.
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